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HRI Fellowships

Students who complete the Humanities Research Intensive course become eligible to apply for special HRI Fellowships to support research experiences during the ensuing academic year. You can use these Fellowships to support collaborative work as a research assistant to a faculty member or lab, or to fund an independent project of your own design. We offer two levels of support: 

  • Small Fellowships support part-time research experiences during an academic quarter or over the summer. The level of engagement should be roughly equivalent to 2–3 units of academic work. 
  • Full-Time Fellowships support 10-week, full-time research projects during the summer. The fellowship amount depends on your financial need. We can offer a limited number of these each summer.

The way these Fellowships are structured depends on the kind of project you are pursuing and whether if falls during the summer or the academic year. In some cases, you will receive a lump-sum stipend, while in others, you will be hired as a part-time student worker and paid by the hour. See the section below on Funding for full details.

Please through the following policies carefully and contact jschweg [at] (Jeff Schwegman) if you want to meet to talk through your research proposal.

Application Deadlines

Collaborative research experiences and independent project proposals have different application processes, as described in the sections below, but they both share the same deadlines. To be considered for an HRI Fellowship, email your materials to jschweg [at] (Jeff Schwegman) by one of the following dates:

  • Fall Quarter Projects: Sunday, October 8, 2023, 11:59 pm.
  • Winter Quarter Projects: Sunday, January 21, 2024, 11:59 pm.
  • Spring Quarter Projects: Sunday, April 14, 2024, 11:59 pm.
  • Summer Quarter Projects (Full-Time): Sunday, April 14, 2024, 11:59 pm.
  • Summer Quarter Projects (Part-Time): Sunday, June 30, 2024, 11:59 pm.

We will let you know if your proposal has been selected by the following Wednesday. 

Note: In order to give fair consideration to everyone who applies, we will wait until after these deadlines to evaluate all of the proposals we have received for the quarter. We can’t notify you in advance if you apply early. 

Collaborative Research Experiences

One of the best ways to get started in research—particularly if you are not certain where to begin—is to collaborate with a professor or lab on a pre-defined, faculty-led project. These guided research experiences are a bit like apprenticeships: by contributing to a faculty project, you will learn directly from an expert how they frame research questions; identify, analyze and interpret sources; and communicate results to the public. In the process, you will almost certainly come up with ideas and questions of your own, as well as form valuable relationships with faculty, which can help you launch a future independent project of your own. 


To apply for a collaborative research experience, you should write directly to the faculty member or lab and identify yourself as an HRI Fellow eligible for potential fellowship support. Some programs and labs, like CESTA, have their own highly structured internal application processes, and you should participate in these. By contrast, most opportunities to work as a research assistant for an individual faculty member develop informally, and you should simply ask the person. If the professor or lab agrees to work with you, email jschweg [at] (Jeff Schwegman) by the application deadline for the relevant quarter, copying the professor.

Note that some labs may also have their own internal application deadlines that conflict with ours. For instance, a lab might choose its winter quarter research assistants during fall quarter, whereas HRI does not make funding decisions about winter until the beginning of winter quarter. If a conflict of this sort arises, contact jschweg [at] (Jeff Schwegman), who can help work out a compromise solution.

List of Faculty-Led Research Projects in the Humanities 

Below is a list of some faculty-led research projects in the humanities that typically involve undergraduates:

You might also discover other opportunities on your own. For instance, you could develop a good rapport with one of your introductory seminar professors and ask if he or she might be willing to collaborate with you. Certain departments may also have projects primarily reserved for their majors or for students who have taken appropriate introductory courses. We will gladly fund these experiences as well.

Independent Research Projects

You can also apply for an HRI Fellowship to fund an original research project of your own. In this case, you will devise your own research question, locate your own sources, and work independently to develop a final product of your own design, such as a research paper, website, exhibition catalogue, or work of creative art. You must find a faculty member who is willing to advise you on this project, to check in with you on a regular basis, and to evaluate your final product. You and your advisor should decide in advance how you will communicate and what form this final product should take. You should also apply to present your findings, either at an HRI Research Symposium if we are able to organize one, or at the Stanford Undergraduate Research and Public Service Symposium (SURPS).


To apply for an independent research project, email a short project proposal (around 1200 words) to jschweg [at] (Jeff Schwegman) by the relevant deadline.

Your proposal must address the following points:

  • What question or questions do you hope to investigate?
  • List 3–5 sources (primary or secondary) that you’ve read on this topic and describe how they have informed your project.
  • What primary sources (archives, collections, books, etc.) do you hope to find and investigate? 
  • Who is your faculty mentor for this project and how do you envision interacting with him/her over the course of the summer or term? What is your schedule for checking in, and when will you deliver your final product to your mentor?
  • What kind of final product do you expect to create?
  • How might this work inform your future academic plans? 

You do not need to submit a faculty letter of recommendation for these fellowships, but we will follow up with your chosen mentor to get a brief assessment of the feasibility of your project.

Human Subjects Requirements:

If your research proposal involves gathering data from living human beings—including but not limited to procedures such as interviews, ethnographic observations, or reviews of existing records—you may be required to seek approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB), a federally mandated panel charged with overseeing the protection of human participants in research. Not all projects involving human subjects require IRB approval: for instance, many oral histories do not. Nevertheless, you must work through this list of steps to determine what kind of approval, if any, you will need. We cannot fund your project until you have completed these necessary steps! Note that applying to an IRB can be time-consuming and requires careful advance planning. Talk to your faculty mentor about whether your proposal is realistic, given these time constraints.

Travel Restrictions

Planning a research trip, both domestically and abroad, takes considerable time and effort. For instance, which archives, libraries, or collections will you use? How will you gain permission to access them? Are there any local scholars who can assist you if you run into difficulties? Where will you stay, and how will you travel to your research venue? Are there any local risks you should be aware of? These logistical issues become considerably more complex when navigating a foreign country. For this reason—and because HRI is meant to be an introductory research program—we will not fund any projects that involve international travel, except under the following circumstances:

  • If you are an international student and are planning to return to your home country over the summer, we may allow you to design a project using resources in your home town. You must consult in advance with jschweg [at] (Jeff Schwegman).
  • If you will be studying abroad through the Bing Overseas Studies Program during an academic quarter, you may use your HRI grant to conduct research within the city where you BOSP program is located (e.g. Oxford, Santiago, Cape Town, etc.). However, you must complete your HRI-supported research within the official starting and ending dates of your BOSP program (you may not arrive early to the country or stay on afterwards). You must also abide by any travel rules and requirements stipulated by your BOSP program. 
  • If you are using your HRI grant to work as a research assistant for a faculty member or lab, and the professor’s project involves international travel, consult with Jeff Schwegman. We might approve this if we determine that the faculty member is following university policies.

You may travel to a domestic location within the United States (such as the library of Congress in D.C., for instance), but in this case, we may follow up your application with a request for further details before granting your fellowship request.


The way HRI Fellowships are structured depends on the kind of project you are pursuing and whether if falls during the academic year or the summer:

Fall, Winter, or Spring Quarter:

  • Independent research projects are supported through lump-sum stipend payments of $1,500.
  • Collaborative research projects are structured as part-time jobs, paying $20 per hour for up to 10 hours per week. You will be responsible for tracking your hours and filling out a timecard twice per month on Axess. For administrative purposes, Jeff Schwegman will be your supervisor, responsible for approving your timecards and assisting you with any HR-related issues. The faculty member you are supporting, of course, will determine your actual weekly duties, and you should meet regularly with them.


  • All summer fellowships, whether for independent projects or collaborative research, are supported through lump-sum stipend payments, at the rate of $1,500 for small projects or $7,500–$9,000 for full-time projects. (The amount of the latter depends on your financial need).

Important Considerations for Students on Financial Aid

The US Department of Education now requires universities to report any stipends, awards, prizes, or gifts students receive during an academic year (fall, winter, and spring quarters) as if they were part of their overall financial aid package. As a result, a student on financial aid who received several stipends during a single academic year could potentially be viewed, from the perspective of the government, as having been “overpaid.” To avoid this situation, the university now limits the total dollar amount of stipends or awards a student on financial aid can receive to $5,000 per academic year. (This figure is called your “student responsibility” in university policies). This means that if you apply for an HRI Fellowship that is awarded via stipend and have already reached this limit, we won’t be able to fund you. If you give your consent, Jeff Schwegman can ask Financial Aid to determine whether you have reached this limit before you apply.

None of the above applies during summer term because students do not receive needs-based financial aid during the summer. It also doesn’t apply to hourly work, as wages are not treated as part of financial aid. So in practice, this $5,000 limit only applies to a single type of HRI Fellowship: an independent project undertaken during fall, winter, or spring quarter.

If you have questions about this policy or would like to know more, see this comprehensive explanation or email Jeff Schwegman.


When am I Eligible to Apply for an HRI Fellowship? 

You can apply during the next five academic terms that follow your completion of the course. For instance, if you took HRI over spring break 2024, you can apply for spring 2024, summer 2024, fall 2024, winter 2025, and/or spring 2025. 

In addition, if you were a freshman at the time you took the course, and if you did not receive an HRI fellowship during the summer after your freshman year, you can also apply during the summer after your sophomore year. For instance, if you took HRI as a freshman during spring break 2024, you could apply either for summer 2024 or for summer 2025. This option is not available to students who took HRI during their sophomore year. Instead, they should explore sources of funding designed for more advanced students, such as the Chappell-Lougee Scholarship or Major Grants offered by Undergraduate Research.  

Can I apply for more than one HRI Fellowship?

Yes. You can apply for as many small grants as you like, although you can only receive one full-time summer grant. Because funding is limited, however, we will prioritize applicants who have not received a previous grant.

If I receive a full-time HRI Fellowship for the summer, can I also participate in other summer programs?

We expect students who receive a full-time, summer HRI Fellowship to devote around 40 hours per week for 10 weeks to their project. For this reason, you may not accept a second full-time summer stipend from another university office (i.e. to support a second research project, public service opportunity, or unpaid internship), and you may not work a full-time job during the 10 weeks of your Fellowship. You are also not allowed to enroll in more than 5 units of summer coursework.

You may participate in a second, part-time research opportunity (provided the office awarding the stipend allows you to do this in addition to your full-time HRI project). You may also work a part-time job. However, we strongly urge you to limit any additional commitments beyond your HRI project to a total of 5–10 hours per week.

You might be able to enroll in an intensive summer course such as Sophomore College, the Arts Intensive, or a BOSP Short-Term Summer Program. These courses require a full-time commitment, so you cannot participate in them while working simultaneously on your HRI project. However, if your faculty advisor is willing, you may schedule the 10 weeks of your HRI project so that it doesn’t overlap with this course. For instance, you could start early in June, so as to finish before Sophomore College, or take 1–2 weeks off in the middle to go on a BOSP program.

If I receive a part-time HRI Fellowship during fall, winter, or spring, can I participate in other programs?

Stanford only allows undergraduates to work up to a total of 15 hours per week during an academic term. If your HRI project is structured as an hourly job, it will count towards this limit.

You can potentially participate in a second part-time research opportunity in another campus office in addition to your part-time HRI Fellowship if one or both of them are supported through stipend payments, rather than wages. (You should check with the other university office first, however, to see if they allow this). We strongly encourage you, however, to avoid taking on too many additional responsibilities on top of your coursework. 

Other Fellowship Policies
  • Faculty mentors do not need to be academic council members (lecturers and untenured faculty are fine).
  • You do not need to collect or submit receipts for independent projects.
  • You may not receive academic credit for research supported by these fellowships. 
  • HRI Fellowship funds are subject to U.S. and state income tax laws, and payment of this fellowship may be tax reportable. If your Fellowship is structured as an hourly job, the university will withhold taxes from your income and you will receive a W-2 form. Otherwise, you assume responsibility for reporting fellowship payments to the proper taxing authorities, as well as liability for any tax payments that may be due.